Soothing a Teething Baby: Tips for Parents

Baby teething is inevitable and uncomfortable. New teeth pushing through sensitive gums can cause fussiness, sleep disturbances, and crankiness. This is a difficult time for parents trying to calm a teething baby. However, there are several effective teething remedies for your child. This article offers paediatric-recommended ways to calm teething babies for all parents.

When Do Babies Start Teething?

Teething starts between 4 and 7 months for most babies. Some babies teethe earlier or later. Timing depends on the child. The first to erupt is usually a lower central incisor. Symptoms of teething start a month or two before the tooth emerges.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Teething:

While each baby experiences teething differently, below are some of the most common signs and symptoms. If your baby exhibits most of these, teething is likely the culprit behind their discomfort:

  • Increased saliva and drooling
  • Swollen, tender, or inflamed gums
  • Biting behaviours and chewing on toys or fingers
  • Fussiness and crying
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild temperature between 99-100°F
  • Rash around the mouth due to excessive drooling

Teething Relief Tips and Tricks

  1. Massage Their Gums: Gently massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger can provide pressure and stimulation. This slight counter-pressure seems to temporarily relieve pain and discomfort. Be extremely gentle, rub their gums in small circular motions for a few minutes. You can try this several times a day.
  2. Give Cooling Teethers and Washcloths: Cool temperatures ease teething pain. Put a plastic teething toy or ring in the fridge to chill. Avoid gel or liquid-filled teethers, which can leak and be harmful. Wet a washcloth, refrigerate, and let your baby gently gnaw. Start by removing loose strings and fraying edges. Rotate cooled items with room temperature ones to avoid overchilling sensitive gums.
  3. Frozen Fruit in Mesh Feeders: Swollen gums benefit from frozen fruit's cold and texture. Strawberry, banana, mango, and apple work well. Simply purée or mash very ripe fruit, pour into clean ice cube trays with silicone tops, and freeze. Put a cube in a baby-safe mesh feeder. Always watch your baby to avoid choking.
  4. Increase Fluids: Extra drool and crying can lead to dehydration. Offer small sips of water frequently. If breastfed, nurse more often to comfort your baby and keep them hydrated.
  5. Gently Wipe Away Excess Drool: While a little dribble is inevitable, gently wipe your baby’s chin and neck area to minimise drool rashes. Any irritation tends to add to their discomfort. Use a soft, absorbent bib or cloth under the baby’s chin whenever possible.
  6. Extra Cuddles and Distraction: Tender, loving care can help a teething baby! Give them extra cuddles to feel safe. Rocking, lullabies, walks, stories, and baths are soothing. A light distraction eases teething pain.
  7. Use Medications Sparingly: Teething may be relieved by infant oral pain relievers. However, consult your paediatrician first and only use as needed. Avoid applying numbing gels or creams to your baby's gums for safety reasons.
  1. Stick to Normal Bedtime Routine: While teething can cause sleep disruption, keep bedtime rituals consistent. Maintain as much of their routine, soothing techniques, and familiar sleep associations as possible. This provides comfort and stability at a time when they are most needed.
  2. Have patience and Perspective: Teething is temporary but can be stressful. Remind yourself it will pass, try different remedies, and contact your paediatrician if you are very concerned. Take a deep breath and snuggle your little one - soon those sweet baby teeth will be popping through!

Choosing Safe, Effective Teething Toys and Products

When looking for teething toys and products, safety should be the number one priority. Avoid anything with small, detachable parts that could pose a choking risk if swallowed. Also, be cautious with jewelry-type teethers worn around the baby’s neck, as the FDA warns these can strangulate.

Here are some paediatrician-recommended teething toys and products:

  • Solid plastic teething rings and rattles
  • Soft silicone teethers with handles are easy for baby to grip
  • Wooden teething rings and toys
  • Cold, wet washcloths (supervised use)
  • Refrigerated plastic teethers
  • Mesh food feeders for frozen fruit
  • All-natural wood bead teething bracelets, worn by mom

Do not use dental gels, benzocaine gels/sprays, amber bead necklaces, gel-filled teethers, or cloth/yarn teething toys Take medication under medical supervision for safety.

The First Dental Visit The American Dental Association recommends your baby's first dental visit after their first tooth erupts to assess tooth and gum health. Early preventative dental exams lay the groundwork for oral health.

Teething is difficult, but thankfully short-lived. Paediatricians recommend several soothing techniques to help babies and parents through this difficult time. You'll get through it quickly with patience and perspective! Then expect those sweet first baby smiles with new teeth.

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